Saturday, 24 January 2015

Getting started with IBM Bluemix


A while ago I had written a post explaining difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

In PaaS if you see examples IBM Bluemix is one of the PaaS solutions. In this post we will explore it in detail. Bluemix is powered by Cloud Foundry open source project which itself is a PaaS solution.

For more details on why you should use IBM bluemix, what are the benefits you can refer to following slideshare PPT -

Getting Started

You can sign in into Bluemix portal with following URL - 

You will need an IBM ID for the same. If you don't have you can create one. Once you login you should see following dashboard section -

 Once you have the Dashboard you are all set to create and deploy App of your own. Go ahead and Click on Create An App.

Creating an App

  • Click on Create An App

  • You will be prompted to choose what type of App are you creating ? Is it a web app or a mobile App? For this demo tutorial lets select web app.
  • Next on selecting WEB you will get options to select from various runtimes like Java, NodeJS etc...

  •  For this demo I am choosing NodeJS as it will be easier to demonstrate final outputs. Choose SDK for Node js and click continue.
  • You will then be asked to enter App Name. This will for unique root to your Application. So if some name is already taken you have to give another one (just like domain names :) )

  •  Put some name. I had put DemoWebApp but unfortunately it was taken. So I have put it as DemoTestWebApp. We will see it is next screenshots. Anyway click on finish and your template App should be created, built and deployed.

  • Let see how it looks like, shall we?

See the Route field in above screenshot? That is unique url that points to your App. Go ahead click on it or copy paste it in the URL of your favorite browser. You should see following -

  •  Yeah we create our template App...big deal? What the fun unless we modify it and give it our flavor :)

Modifying and deploying your own code

If you see start coding section under dashboard you should see various methods in which you can build your code.

  •  Yes it provides seamless integration with GIT. Fell free to try out any/all methods. For this demo I am going to use the CF (Cloud foundry) CLI(command line interface). This section gives you list of exact steps that you need to do for creating a local copy of code, changing it and deploying it. But will  re do them for better understanding -

    • Download and install CF CLI from here. I am using Windows. You can choose installer which suits your requirement.... Debian, Redhat, Mac OS X, Windows etc.
    • To verify that it is correctly installed you can simple type cf -v in your command line and it should print you the version. For me it gives -

      C:\Users\athakur>cf -v
      cf version 6.9.0-620f841-2015-01-20T18:01:40+00:00
    • Next Download the template code. Link to it should be in the same CF CLI section of  Start coding section. Go ahead and download the zip file ( in my case) and extract it.
    • Lets make some changes to the code now. Example code makes use of Jade Node template engine. The pages that are rendered are in views folder of extracted folder.
    • I have changed some line of code in body.jade file.  For the changes that I made and how can we deploy these changes see following screenshots - 

body.jade File Content

//- body.jade
//- This file provides the HTML body part.

      td(style= "width:30%;" )
        h1 Welcome to Bluemix!
        p This is a demo web app created with <span class = "blue">NodeJS Starter Application</span> by <span class = "blue">Aniket Thakur</span>. Happy Coding!

Now lets deploy our code -

  • Navigate to App directoru ->  cd C:\Users\athakur\Sources\WebTestAppDemo
  • Next connect to bluemix -> cf api 
  • Login -> cf login -u yourUserName
  • Setup target -> cf target -o yourOrganization -s yourSpace
  • Finally push your code -> cf push DemoTestWebApp 

Finally you should see something like -

1 of 1 instances running

App started


App DemoTestWebApp was started using this command `node app.js`

Showing health and status for app DemoTestWebApp in org *********** / space at
hakur as *************...

requested state: started
instances: 1/1
usage: 128M x 1 instances
last uploaded: Sun Jan 25 06:28:12 +0000 2015

     state     since                    cpu    memory          disk
#0   running   2015-01-25 11:59:01 AM   0.0%   18.1M of 128M   35.9M of 1G

This means your code is deployed and your app is restarted. All you have to do now is revisit your App URL and test out the changes.

  Lastly I would say it always fun to try new technologies. So do give this a try. It will surely make your life easier (it terms of app deployment and maintenance ofcourse :) )

Related Links

Understanding SOA (Service Oriented Architecture)


Lets say you are designing a system to process stock rates that you receive from stock exchange. Lets say you develop a web application that expects a JSON object. Maybe in further processing down the workflow some other format is expected. To integrate various such services and inter communicate in platform independent way SOA is used. SOA suites provides easy way to integrate such services.


SOA is service oriented architecture. In SOA services are decoupled and can interact with each other irrespective of the service type. Meaning a particular service can be platform or protocol specific but SOA enables such services to interact and exchange data. This data is essentially exchanged via ESB (Enterprise service bus) which forms the backbone of any SOA architecture.

Let me go ahead and give specific example to help understand this better. One way ESB could be implemented us by using JMS servers and using XML/XSD as means of transferring data between various services. So various service will register or connect to these JMS servers and exchange data using XML format. Generally SOA suite comes bundles with so called adapters that help transforming messages to and from format understood by service and XML.

For example consider shares trading system. Messages from stock exchange come in FIX protocol. You may have build an application that expects JSON. To make these both systems work you will use SOA - FIX Adapter will convert FIX message to XML, then this xml will be transferred to JSON Adapter over ESB which will then convert to JSON as required by your system endpoint.

Note : I have mentioned XML as it is platform independent message format. It is in fact SOAP (Simple Object access Protocol) that is used to transfer messages. SOAP is a standardized xml with already defined and recognized specifications.

Finally hoping following picture makes it very clear.

Related Links

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